Education policy is a constitutional responsibility of states, and governors play a leading role in efforts to improve education. The challenges states face in K-12 education are complex, and governors must address a wide range of schooling issues including: academic standards, dropout prevention and recovery, education options, teacher professional development, turning around low-performing schools, STEM education and many more.
Today governors are leading widespread efforts to better ensure that all students graduate high school ready for success in college, work and life. The NGA Center supports governors and their staffs on education policy issues through focused projects, direct technical assistance and policy analysis.
In 2005, the governors of all 50 states made an unprecedented commitment to voluntarily implement a common, more reliable formula for calculating their state’s high school graduation rate by signing the NGA Graduation Counts Compact. Five years later, progress is steady, and 48 states are expected to report high school graduation rates using the common formula by 2011.
Efforts to improve educational attainment are hampered by the high school dropout crisis. At a time when governors are calling for changes to improve higher education access and success, more than 1 million youth ages 16 to 19 are not enrolled in school and do not have a high school diploma.
At least 5,000 public schools have failed to meet their academic achievement targets for at least five consecutive years. The underlying causes of such failure are usually a combination of weak leadership, inadequate skill levels among teachers, and insufficient high-quality teaching materials.
The 2011 Governors Education Symposium, co-hosted by the NGA Center and the Hunt Institute, focused on advancing education reform with limited resources, improving postsecondary completion and productivity, preparing career- and college-ready students and measuring and evaluating effective teaching.